Is it possible to keep a blog relatively private?
December 19, 2010 5:53 PM   Subscribe

How can I keep people I know from reading my blog without making it totally private? And which host site is best for privacy?

I have a blog that's rather personal in nature, and I thought I was fine hosting it with Wordpress and keeping it closed to search engines. I found, though, that if you type in the name of my blog certain pages from it do actually come up. I'm also starting to suspect that the images I have on my blog can be found through search engines, even though they're not linked.

So I tried to switch it over to Blogger, but this is even worse because I can't figure out how to unlink all my images so I know that search engines are probably finding them. I have it set so that search engines won't find it, but I'm getting really suspicious that that won't matter. I also fear that Google indexes everything I do, even if I end up deleting it.

So what would be the best option here? I wouldn't mind moving it to some unknown hosting site at this point. I just want to keep it far, far away from my family and that means keeping it far away from search engines and even farther away from my name itself. I don't mind if people find it through other blogs, though, so I don't want to keep it private only to me.

What are my options?
posted by lhude sing cuccu to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Your most thorough option to keep this site private is to not use your name on the Internet--or, in your case, a recognizable blog name. Nothing to Google for = no Google arrivals.

But.... no matter how much "no-follow" or "no-index" or whatever work you do, without password protection (and even sometimes then), you will be searchable in some form on the Internet.

I think you need to think about what you're doing online. I don't mean that in a snide way! But even if you go so far as to block search engines, to strip your blog of anything searchable, to totally anonymize... some day someone you don't want to have read your site will. For example, I kept a pseudonymous blog, that used no real names, and put up nothing that was totally Googleable... and friends and family still found it!

That's because the Internet, where it is not password-protected, is public.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 6:02 PM on December 19, 2010 [2 favorites]

Not post things in the Internet?

Seriously. Anything goes on the web. You are putting information out there and people WILL find it.

Start scrapbooking and/or journalling.
posted by two lights above the sea at 6:06 PM on December 19, 2010 [4 favorites]

Yeah, sorry. You can make it so only your family can see it, but it's basically impossible to make it so everyone but your family can see it.
posted by SMPA at 6:16 PM on December 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

As the others said, blog = web log = something you write for other people to read on the web. If you want other people to read it but not know who you are, just don't use any identifying information (no names, photos, or identifying description). If you don't want anyone else to read it, don't put it on the Internet!

If you want your secrets to be accidentally discovered, you might try adding a few real names.

Some people say it's healthier to share your secrets.
posted by sninctown at 6:19 PM on December 19, 2010

Well, what do you want here, because there are two possible solutions:

Problem 1: You want a blog that only people you dictate can read.
Solution 1: If this is the case, there are many things like that, just take a look at some social blogging sites, hell, I think even MySpace offers that. You just set your blog as only viewable to friends, and just don't friend your family :P

Problem 2: You want a blog that everyone can access EXCEPT your family/people you know
Solution 2: I can' t help you on that, all I can say is good luck. Unless your friends/family happen to keep the same IP address always (rare) and you have control over the domain enough to block the visitors by IP then there isn't really much you can do. Even that solution would be foiled by them just going to another computer.
posted by egranlund at 6:25 PM on December 19, 2010

OpenDiary and LiveJournal both support blogging only for the people you allow to see it, i.e. your Friends. OpenDiary, for instance, will let you allow only OD members, or only OD+ members (paid subscription), or only Friends Only, or no one read your blog.
posted by adrianna aria at 6:30 PM on December 19, 2010 [5 favorites]

I have a blog, which I would be pretty bristled if my parents or friends read it, so I have never ever mentioned having a blog to any of them, and use aliases for cities, occasions and names. I have a fair amount of followers and have even posted some pretty anonymous photographs (sunsets and oceans). As far as I know, no one I know in "real life" has found my blog. If they have, they didn't mention it.
posted by banannafish at 6:50 PM on December 19, 2010

I'm going to try to remove all identifying information. I don't think I have that much to begin with, but you never know. Luckily I don't think my family is too interested in my personal I don't think they're going to try to go to all lengths to find stuff. (I just want to minimize accidental finding of stuff.)

So, I think my biggest problem right now is these images in Blogger that apparently can't be unlinked. If I keep my site hidden from search engines, can my images still come up in an image search?
posted by lhude sing cuccu at 6:59 PM on December 19, 2010

Some motivated close readers are really good at matching up writing styles and content to real life IDs -- so even if you strip out what you think are identifying details, you might be found.
posted by yarly at 7:04 PM on December 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

The only secure blog is the one you write in MS Word on your local machine, and leave there. If it's online odds are eventually it will be discovered.
posted by COD at 7:10 PM on December 19, 2010

Here's the problem with making your blog friends only: it doesn't make the blog a secret, and thus eventually you're faced with family requesting access to it, leaving you with the awkward task of explaining why they aren't "friends." So if you're writing and hoping to discuss with people something like say a change in religious outlook or sexual orientation or other things tied up in your identity, it might be wisest to take the conversation offline. These sorts of things are always personal in nature and hard to divorce, unlike say, Harry Potter slashfic.

On the other hand, if fetish pornblog is all you've got, then it might be easiest to just keep two blogs, one your family and friends might find, and one in your plume de nome with all the personal details expunged.
posted by pwnguin at 10:06 PM on December 19, 2010

What are you doing exactly to hide from search engines? The best method is robots.txt, which really only works if your blog has its own own domain name.

So if you don't want Google Images to find images on your blog, add this to robots.txt:

User-agent: Googlebot-Image
Disallow: /

posted by zsazsa at 10:52 PM on December 19, 2010 [2 favorites]

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